The holidays are a great time to enjoy fantastic food in good company, but for some of us it can be difficult to maintain healthy eating habits and avoid over-indulgence. Edible gifts, office parties, and seasonal markets typically mean calorie dense, but nutrient-poor food choices, which can lead to temporary, undesirable and unhealthy seasonal weight-gain, lethargy, and ill-health.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to ensure that your diet includes plenty of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients and fiber to enhance energy, support boost immunity, and prevent undesirable weight gain.
Top Tips to Stay Health at Office Parties
Office party buffets are almost always loaded with saturated fat, salt, simple carbohydrates, sugar and pro-inflammatory, artery clogging animal products. If you’re on a diet it may be tempting to avoid the party altogether, but with a few simple strategies you too can socialize and quaff champagne without feeling hungry as you pick at a lackluster salad.
For the organizers and planners among you, try having a discussion in advance with the party organizer. Request more nutritious options that will actually enhance employee health, and perhaps find a few local catering companies that provide healthy business buffets. Or, how about suggesting a potluck where everyone brings their favorite healthy seasonal dish?
If these aren’t options then consider eating before the party or taking some high protein and high fiber foods to add in to the fruit and vegetable dishes on offer. Great options include falafel, nuts and seeds, seasoned chickpeas, hemp hearts, and PGX granules.
The food at the office party may be free, but you’ll pay for it later if it’s unhealthy and leaves you feeling temporarily sluggish, ill, and bloated.
Avoiding Comfort Eating During the Holidays
Seasonal stress can sabotage a healthy diet, but instead of grabbing the nearest high-fat, high-sugar, salty and nutrient-poor foods during times of stress, try to plan ahead and have delicious things on hand that actually nourish your brain and support elevate mood.
Some key nutrients to consider in mood-boosting foods include those that reduce the production of cortisol, such as:
- Phosphatidylserine – found in beans and barley
- Vitamin C – found in mandarins and other fresh fruits and vegetables
- Omega 3 fatty acids – found in nuts, seeds, and some oily fish and algae
Other nutrients that can be helpful during the holidays include 5-HTP and theanine. These amino acids have mood-boosting and relaxing effects and can significantly reduce the temptation to use food as a coping mechanism for occasional stress. Theanine is found in green tea (and black tea), or in supplement form without the caffeine.
5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) has been found to have appetite-suppressing effects because it can increase feelings of satiety and help lessen comfort eating. This amino acid is present in bananas, kiwi fruit, sour cherries, plums and tomatoes, as well as flaxseeds and beans. It’s also available in supplement form and is a popular supplement for occasional winter blues, which can also play a role in winter weight-gain.
Filling Up on Fiber
Finally, one great way to avoid overeating during the holidays is to give fiber intake a boost. Fiber is necessary to keep the bowel healthy, but it also slows down the rate at which the carbohydrates in food are broken down, thereby supporting better blood sugar regulation. In turn, this helps us to manage appetite and decrease cravings related to erratic glucose and insulin levels.
PGX granules are a great way to boost fiber intake on the go as they can be added into yogurt, smoothies, juice and water, and even sprinkled on cereal, salads and in soups. This innovative fiber complex has been found in studies to help people better balance blood sugar, reduce food cravings, and achieve weight management goals. Just make sure to drink additional water (8 fl. oz.) after ingesting PGX®, and, if you are taking medications, take one hour prior to or two hours after taking PGX®.
The holidays need not be a time of worry, especially over maintaining healthy eating habits. Plan in advance and avoid hunger and stress. With just a few seasonal strategies for healthy eating, you can approach the office party, family dinners, and other events with confidence.
What are your top tips for staying healthy during the holidays? Let us know in the comments below!